Prawns could be the latest solution to speed up the process of producing biofuel, scientists in China have discovered.
A catalyst made from prawn shells that could transform production of biodiesel fuel into a faster, less expensive, and more environmentally friendly process, Dr Xinsheng Zheng and his colleaques from HuaZhong Agricultural University discovered.
In laboratory tests, the seafood converted rapeseed oil to biodiesel faster (89 per cent conversion in three hours) and more efficiently than some conventional catalysts.
The new catalysts also can be reused and the process minimizes waste production and pollution, the scientists noted.
The production of biodiesel requires a catalyst to induce and speed up the chemical reactions which converts plant oils such as rapeseed, palm oil and soybean into useable diesel fuel. Traditional catalysts cannot be reused and require the use of large amounts of water to boil and cool the fuel. The new catalyst would require less water thanks to the speeder process of production.